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Friday, June 26, 2009

Paris Men's Week: Rick Owens

A particularly hard remix of Human Resource's Dominator, which sounds like a buzz accompanied by heart-vibrating break beats, played throughout Rick Owens' second men's show. The lyrics—"I'm bigger and bolder and rougher and tougher in other words, sucker, there is no other"—perfectly summarized the strong masculine pomp that defined the show. Even many of those in the audience were styled like members of Nitzer Ebb, Front 242 and DAF. Paris has been crying out for a serious, credible challenger to Raf Simons' hold on wearable cutting-edge. Rick Owens looks to be a contender.

The long-haired, high-heeled American hasn't sought to be another feminizing force in menswear. Instead he mines that adolescent love of tribal allegiances and rebellion. Think youth cults, i.e. skins, industrial punks and anarchists. Sure, there's an age limit to leather hoodies, just-below-the-knee denim shorts and sneakers that appear almost triangular in profile, but the sort of warrior men attracted to Owens' designs don't want to dress as feeble updates on their fathers. That’s not success, it's surrender.

—Daryoush Haj-Najafi

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